Search for Addiction Treatment Centers Near You Forums Alcohol Abuse Considering pursuing a career in addictions counseling

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    I’ve wanted to pursue this path for some time now. Even when I was still using and drinking, the field itself has always appealed to me. I’ve looked into 2 graduate programs so far. Went for a visit to one. I actually think I might have still been drinking at the time but was gearing-up for another run at sobriety. I’m on the last three credits of an M.A. in philosophy right now and I think I’m going to move forward with this idea in the Spring. There will be some logistical problems to iron out but I didn’t post here to bore you all with them. Anyway…

    Has anyone here/ is anyone here pursued/pursuing a career in addictions counseling while in recovery? I’m coming up on 6 months clean and sober and I finally feel like I’m at a good enough place to take on the pressure. By the time I’m actually applying to any programs I should have at least 9 months and I imagine I wouldn’t have to accept any offers of acceptance until I’m at the one year mark. By that point, I feel like I should know whether I’m committed to sobriety and that I can really allow my employment to be dependent on its continuation. In a lot of ways, if I don’t stay sober I’ll be jeopardizing my career prospects but if I’m a D&A counselor, relapse absolutely means professional failure.

    That scares me. I’ve never been clean this long, so history is not in my favor. This time everything seems different though. I’m being extremely proactive and honest about my recovery. And as much as it scares me, I also feel like such a career would provide another huge incentive to keep my sobriety going.

    So yea, I’m looking for some feedback. My therapist is on board with the idea and thinks that it will be a very positive thing for me. I’ve also had many people tell me that they think I would do well as a counselor. Perhaps I should have been walking this path long ago but this was yet another thing that my addictions have robbed me of.

    If anyone is currently pursuing this path or if you’re already working in the field, do you find that it helps your own sobriety? I’m thinking that it would help my own but there’s also a small part of me that thinks that being around that much suffering might be a trigger in itself. As I understand it, most people do not succeed at sobriety and I’m a little nervous that that witnessing that much failure on a daily basis might provide too much frustration.

    Also, has anyone experienced any difficulty in the field because they are in recovery. I’ve heard stories that the D&A field often sways between being in favor of counselors that are in recovery and those that have a purely academic background. Professional success is a very small motivation for me but I also don’t want to dive head first into a completely no-win situation.

    I’m also curious as to what the non-12 step recovery field is like. I’m not a 12 step guy myself so my goal is to either find a facility to work in that is more inline with my own recovery or to work in private practice. It seems that I’ll have to spend some time working with 12 step for my internships and clinical. I’m not all that opposed to doing that. I’m not hostile towards AA/NA and I feel like I’ll still learn a whole lot from these experiences. Its just that in the end, they’re probably not where I want to be. So I guess my question here is how hard it might be to find a job in a non 12 step facility? For those that are sympathetic to my views and have gone through similar courses of study, was it difficult to work in facilities that practiced 12 step treatment?

    Anyway, thanks in advance for any words of wisdom that can be given to me. Feel free to go beyond any of my specific questions. I’d like to gather as much info about the process before I move ahead with this idea.

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